A common misconception is that the honey bees only purpose is to produce honey. However, they are also significant in the pollination of fruits and vegetables that both people and livestock eat. In fact, one-third of the human diet comes from plants that honey bees pollinate.
Honey bees are not native in America. They are immigrants from different countries in Africa and some parts of Europe. Honey bees are responsible for one-third of the U.S commercial pollination for products that includes almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, pumpkins, cucumber, avocados, watermelons, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, and over 90 other varieties of fruits and vegetable in the United States. In addition, California is a national leader in producing honey which the average is 20 million pounds each year and also 400 thousand pounds of beeswax. In California, bees produce almonds of which the growth is 100 percent dependent on bee pollination.
What is so valuable about honeybee’s pollination that connects production of seeds that has worldwide distribution? Other plants like asparagus, carrots, celery, onions, radishes, and turnips produce seeds only if their flowers have been effectively pollinated. Bees pollinate plants that manufacture clothing (cotton) and plants that provide a habitat for all types of animals. Bees are also important for their beeswax that produces candles, polishes, ointments, crayons, gum, inks, and lipstick. The value of commercial honey bee pollination in alfalfa hay is about one-third. In addition, the value of pollination in apples is ten percent followed by six to seven percent of value is in almonds, citrus, cotton and soybean.